UCD Smurfit MBA is Globally Immersed in Digital Marketing

This year, as part of the Global Network for Advanced Management, UCD Smurfit hosted a week-long module “Digital Marketing – Understanding Opportunities and Devising Strategies”. A cohort of around 25 MBA students from Fudan University School of Management, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, IE Business School, EGADE Business School, Yale SOM, and UCD Smurfit met in Dublin, shared drinks and talked digital.

Within one week, we were quickly, but comprehensively, taught the basics and nuances of the subject: how it works, the trends and future, and the quirks and twists.  In a nutshell, search, social media, mobile connectivity, and web 2.0 skyrocket because they cater to a basic Homo sapien’s nature: freedom or in this case: the freedom to consume media whichever way is convenient. By establishing a seamless integration with web, social and mobile and communicating relevant messages, organisations can attract new prospects and retain their existing customers.

Dublin – the digital capital of Europe – made a perfect backdrop for such a digital marketing marathon. Real-world study formed an integral part of the module. We were bussed to Facebook, Google, Hubspot, learned directly from senior marketing professionals, and marvelled at their stunning offices – or rather working playgrounds. These companies occupy different digital space: social media, search, and content with distinctive marketing approaches. All presentations boasted strong growth in digital marketing spending, notwithstanding the economic recession. To cap off the learnings, we worked on an actual marketing project for NewsTalk and presented our findings to the CEO and marketing manager.

A Dublin experience would be incomplete without the vibrant Irish nightlife. We got to visit Guinness Storehouse, ate Irish lamb stew, and enjoyed the varied offerings of Irish beers and liquors accompanied by live Celtic music. The atmosphere was perfect to cool off a long day, share a laugh, and make friends. Many people planned to keep in touch, and see each other in the future.

In our highly globalized world, the ability to develop networks and collaborate with others outside our comfort zone is more important than ever. The connections between leading business schools, companies and students were made possible by this opportunity. I would like to thank the companies, lecturers, organisers, and students who together made such an unforgettable experience.


Cong Vu.

FT MBA 2014

Taking action is really the key in getting that job.

After the rush of adrenaline while on the UCD Smurfit MBA, Playing Grownup (my post MBA start-up), and the UCD Smurfit Student of the Year award, it was difficult to switch into job hunting mode.   I made all the rookie mistakes starting out- applying for random jobs online, sitting in front of a computer rather than actively networking. Fortunately the wisdom of the UCD MBA and Brian’s preaching on networking allowed the light bulb to go off thinking back to his tennis swing analogy and doing something you love hitting that sweet spot on the racket and swinging without thinking all led me in a better direction.

First, I reached out to a local non-profit called DurhamCares to help them with a project interviewing businesses and using readings from the MBA to help them create a framework. This started to get me in front of local business leaders and build up a local reference from the non-profit who actually got me an interview with a local company that I declined because I had another offer from CrossComm. I went from getting no responses to multiple offers all starting from this decision to get involved in a cause that I loved and could add value so that started the momentum.

I learned about CrossComm through Amy, my better half, who did some part time book-keeping for them and before I knew it I received a job description for a Chief Business Development Officer position for this small  mobile app development company. The reason I think this will be of interest to the current class is that instead of creating a standard cover letter I submitted a 100 Day Plan. It impressed the CEO enough to hire me and made me more confident it would be the right fit having taken the extra time to present my ideas for the role and what I would try to accomplish in my first three months. And to wrap the story up with a bow – my first marketing sponsorship was with DurhamCares non-profit in a campaign they are doing locally so getting involved and taking action is really the key!

Justin Thomas, FT MBA 2012.



Leveraging the UCD Smurfit MBA: “I call it networking”

In his career development workshop Brian Marrinan explained it’s more effective to talk to someone you know than to send your CV to someone you don’t know. This made me reconnect with a Dutch company I’d done an internship with as an undergrad. I didn’t want to move back to the Netherlands and was keen to leverage the MBA. I mentioned this upfront and added ‘but I’m interested in something suitable in Dubai’. I have no idea why I said ‘Dubai’, but it turned out they were looking for someone with my profile in the UAE. Brian helped me prepare for the interview; Stephen Boyle gave me valuable negotiation tips and with Prof Damien McLoughlin’s advice in mind (change jobs during the MBA) I accepted the offer.

Robert Burgers (EMBA, City Centre, 2010)


My biggest fear while doing my MBA was not getting a job after the completion of the course. I heard the word “networking” several times, but didn’t believe in its power until I benefited from it. When my fiancé had a job interview in Dubai I decided to go with him to make some contacts myself. Simon Teevan, an MBA colleague and friend also searching for a job in the UAE, mentioned Robert Burgers, a principal consultant with DNV GL, who also did an MBA. I contacted Robert and we went for lunch to discuss career possibilities in the energy sector in Dubai. During the conversation we both talked about how interesting the MBA programme was and how it changed our thinking and ways of working. A few weeks later I was called for an interview and offered a job. I met only one person in Dubai and this person helped me to get a job. Some people call this destiny; I call it “networking”!

Elisa Cataldo (FTMBA, 2012-2013)


UCD Smurfit MBA Entrepreneurship Club kicks off a new season in Google HQ.

The UCD Smurfit Entrepreneurship Club put together an introductory event on 8 October. Over 35 current and recent MBA participants attended. The event was hosted at the Google Docks building on Barrow Street with an incredible line-up of speakers and club member who stepped up to make it happen. When you see them, thank these incredibly generous individuals who provided the substance to the event and helped to coordinate everyone and everything on a VERY short timeline.

One of our own, Mathilde Miravete EMBA 2015, did a fantastic job securing Google as the venue and also MC’d the panel. Michael Culligan pulled double duty on the panel, providing an introductory overview and discussing the types and availability of funds in Dublin. Eamonn Sayers provided an overview of the Incubator environment at the Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC), discussing the benefits of close working environment for entrepreneurs. Our NDRC representative, Gary Leyden, discussed his LaunchPad programme and that an Accelerator slightly differs from an Incubator by focusing on projects closer to viable start-up status. individuals who provided the substance to the event and helped to coordinate everyone and everything on a VERY short timeline.

Bringing social responsibility to the discussion was Darren Ryan from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI). He gave us an overview of how SEI is working to make a difference through entrepreneurs and redefining success by social impact. Brendan Cremen provided an academic supported Incubator at NovaUCD, which leverages the school’s researchers, leaders, and investors.

Our attendees found the event an incredibly useful introduction to the entrepreneur landscape. Pawel Ostropolski enjoyed that a “broad range of the entrepreneurship landscape” was covered from physical products, to IT solutions, and process change through social process reform ideas. Sundar Balasubramani enjoyed the chance to meet and network with Gary and Eamonn. David Keirnan found that “The discussions outlinedpractical steps to take a business concept to reality. Advice on the do’s and do not’s for start-up enterprises was given by highly experienced people working in the field.”

Being Google, we also got some swag in the form of stickers, diary pads, and pens. After the formal Q&A everyone enjoyed canapés with wine kindly sponsored by the MBA Office.

In all, a great introductory event that provided everyone a feel for some of the major players in the Entrepreneur scene in Dublin in such a beautiful setting overlooking Dublin city from Google headquarters.

The next meeting of UCD Entrepreneurship Club is scheduled for 31 October at 7:30p in the Pillar Room.


Pete Kloehn,  MBA Entrepreneurship Club Chair 2013-14.

FTMBA 2014.

UCD Smurfit EMBA ascends global MBA rankings

Some good news this week,  the UCD EMBA is now placed 81st in the Financial Times global rankings for 2013.

The Irish Times picked up on the breaking news quickly –  “The Dublin university, which is the only Irish business school included in the global rankings, has moved up seven places in the rankings from last year, up to 81.”  Read more here.

The Journal.ie ran with an article entitled “UCD Smurfit School MBA ranked among best in world” which in 24 hours has received almost 15,000 views.  Click here to read.

You can access the school’s own announcement on Business & Leadership by following the link for the associated press release here.

A special thank you to all who participate in these rankings every year.  Your efforts contribute to growing the UCD Smurfit MBA as the brand leader in Ireland.

MBA Team.

Fear of the Unknown.

This blog entry represents my first missed deadline of the year. Not the most auspicious start I feel. It seems that everyone is feeling the pressure to some extent. Best-laid plans to keep on top of the workload and allow time for other things have been pushed aside, at least for now.

Everyone is here because they’re good at what they do. Deadlines are tough enough when you know your job, but what about when you don’t? I think the first few weeks are about putting the first pin in the map. It won’t be in the right place, but at least it’s somewhere to start.

Allowing ourselves to make mistakes doesn’t come naturally to most of us. For many this may be the greatest challenge. It’s a venture into the unknown, but that’s why we’re here. Now is the time to take chances, to risk being wrong. I’m looking forward to spending a whole semester making mistakes.

On an unrelated note, now that the weather has changed for the worse the Irish MBA students are starting a winter support group for the international students. If anyone is interested we’ll be meeting in the Dark Horse at least once a week.

Michael Noonan,

FT MBA 2014

In at the Deep End!

Week one.

Lectures kicked off on Monday 2nd Sept at 8.30am on the UCD Smurfit MBAFinancial Reporting with Niamh Brennan.

“This is how you prepare an income, profit and loss statement. This is how you prepare a balance sheet. Any questions?”

Silence.

“Good, these are your assignments for Thursday.”

Two months’ worth of accountancy lectures at undergrad level, dexterously squeezed into two hours. The pace was set for the rest of the week.

It’s not that the lecturers assume students have considerable previous knowledge of the subjects. There’s just a lot of work to get through. The best thing to do is to jump straight in. The only comfort being the reassurance that others have gone through the same process in the past and lived to tell the tale.

We’ll see!

David Kiernan,

FTMBA 2014.

Beginning of a new journey.

Every once in a while, I look back on the journey in life so far and look ahead to what the future has to offer. One of those introspective trips planted the seed of thought of changing the status quo.  I could feel a void that a change in job/role or internal organizational training couldn’t fill.

The business side of a venture has always interested me and I felt that an MBA from a world-class institution would lay a strong foundation to build a career upon.  Having lived in Ireland for almost six years now, the UCD Smurfit MBA was at the top of my list.  A bit of information gathering over internet, talking to alumni and attending a breakfast lecture session helped me make up my mind.

As I’m gearing up for a change of direction, here is my take on the expectations from the MBA @ UCD Smurfit.


  1. Experience a world-class business education.
  2. Learn from diverse peers both inside and outside of the classroom.
  3. Build a good network of people with shared interests.
  4. Get a wider perspective on business to enable my transition to more commercial focused roles from my past operational focused ones.
  5. Have a bit of fun and form great friendships for life.


So this is me, Sundar (you may try Sundaresan Balasubramanian for a tongue twister), a Full-Time MBA student with nine years of global work experience in telecom with the likes of Ericsson and Verizon, looking forward to an amazing journey ahead.


Sundaresan Balasubramanian,

FT MBA 2014.

UCD Smurfit EMBA ranked in TOP 20 in Europe

The prestigious EMBA programme gets widespread media coverage based on the recently announced inaugural Economist’s EMBA rankings.

The Economist’s Executive MBA ranking places the UCD Smurfit School in the top 20 in Europe. This is the first Executive MBA ranking undertaken by the Economist and UCD Smurfit is yet again the only Irish business school to be included.

In the Financial Times Global Masters in Finance ranking, the UCD Smurfit School is placed 34th this year, up one place from last year.

“We are delighted to be recognised by two of the world’s leading independent rankings for our MSc in Finance and for our Executive MBA,” said Professor Ciarán O hÓgartaigh, Dean of Business, University College Dublin.

“These rankings recognise our position as an international leader in business education and are a tribute to the great work that our faculty and staff put into the design and execution of our courses,” he said.

To read more, please go here, and here and also here.


Returning from Brazil and China

After a busy week in Brazil and China on the International Study Trip, respectively, my colleague Roisin and I are  now back in the “real world” in Dublin. With the MBA students still on Spring Break (and indeed some still in Brazil and China) this is a time for us to start focusing in more detail on the MBA programme 2013/2014.

This is always an exciting time for us, planning, keeping, chopping and changing, organising and indeed meeting applicants and participants for next year. As we speak, I am drafting up my first communication to the 5 (maybe 7?) students coming to the UCD Smurfit MBA programme on exchange in September and indeed also to those who have already confirmed that they are ready to start the MBA Programme  fulltime in August. Happy and exciting days ahead!!

– Rikke Budolfsen, MBA Programme Manager